Georgia Bulletin

The Newspaper of the Catholic Archdiocese of Atlanta


Pilgrimage To Link Christ’s Passion, Social Justice

By STEPHEN O'KANE, Staff Writer | Published March 29, 2012

The 32nd annual Good Friday Pilgrimage, which is a “walking prayer” linking the solemn remembrance of Christ’s Passion with contemporary social justice questions, will take place on April 6, sponsored by the social justice ministries of the archdiocese.

Participants will gather on the steps of the state Capitol at 8:45 a.m. on Good Friday. Archbishop Wilton D. Gregory will lead the opening prayer and carry the cross from the first station to the second station. This interfaith reflection is based on the Christian tradition of the Stations of the Cross, a step-by-step walk with Christ, synonymous with Lent and especially Good Friday, in which walkers remember the suffering Jesus Christ endured on the day he was crucified.

Each of 14 stations will feature a Scripture reading in one of several languages, a reflection and a comment that relates to a present-day social justice issue, for example, the death penalty, immigration and others. There will also be a short prayer and response and music.

“Each station is set up in such a way to take the Passion of Christ and compare and contrast that Passion with the sufferings and the issues in today’s society,” said Kat Doyle, director of social justice ministries. “It really is more of an emotional tie between what we are experiencing today in terms of suffering servants and what Christ suffered in his Passion.”

This year the walk will be slightly less than two miles, shorter than in previous years. It will end at about 12:30 p.m. at the Martin Luther King Jr. memorial and crypt. Shuttles will take participants back to the Capitol.

Halfway through, there will be a short break at the Loudermilk Center where walkers may use the restrooms and get water. Snacks will not be provided, as Good Friday is a day of fast.

The Good Friday pilgrimage is an interfaith event, said Doyle.

“It is something that other Christian faiths, as well as non-Christian faiths, can identify with: how we are suffering as a people and how our faith helps us in that suffering,” she said.

The event is considered a “walking prayer” and since there is no parade permit, political signs supporting or opposing particular issues will not be allowed.

“The whole idea is to experience emotionally what Good Friday is all about and perhaps to even have a conversion of heart on a particular issue that you may have either been unaware of or unmoved by in the past,” said Doyle.

Parking is limited, so participants are encouraged to carpool or use MARTA, exiting at either the Underground Atlanta or Georgia State MARTA station.